Most people feel anxious when they run up against a DUI checkpoint. Even if you haven’t been drinking, it can be scary. You may have an expired registration or be driving with a suspended license. You could end up getting arrested even though you’re sober. It may cross your mind to ignore the checkpoint or try to turn around and go back the other way. This is never a good idea. You’ll likely have to hire an Indianapolis DUI defense lawyer to help you clean up a legal mess. You really need to weigh the pros and cons of avoiding a DUI checkpoint in Indianapolis before you make any final decisions.
Are Checkpoints Legal in Indianapolis?
DUI checkpoints are legal in Indiana. In fact, they’re legal in almost every state. The purpose of these sobriety points is to make sure drunk drivers are taken off the road. Law enforcement has a duty to keep the public safe. If they suspect someone is driving while intoxicated, they have a duty to stop and make sure they’re okay to drive. One way to do this is to set up DUI checkpoints. A lot of people who call Indianapolis DUI defense lawyers assume they’re illegal. However, as long as they’re done properly, there’s nothing stopping the police from conducting DUI checkpoints.
Are You Required to Stop?
Like it or not, you are required to stop at a sobriety checkpoint. They’re usually set up on busy roads and stop cars coming from both directions. Often, the police set them up close to bars and restaurants. They also conduct these checkpoints at night. They figure it makes sense to do these random stops at a time and place where drunk drivers are likely to travel.
If you’re leaving a popular nightclub at 2 am, you should assume there could be a checkpoint nearby. The same is true if you’re leaving a bar right after a Colts football game. As long as the checkpoint is random and temporary, there’s nothing stopping law enforcement from installing one in your neighborhood. You can even check online to find out when these stops are scheduled in your town.
Your Indianapolis DUI Defense Lawyer Needs to Prove the Checkpoint Was Unlawful
Some people think that their odds of not getting in trouble are better if they avoid a checkpoint altogether. This isn’t always the best move. If you’re a few blocks away and can make a legal turn, there’s probably no risk of your getting in trouble. However, if you’re already approaching the checkpoint and decide to blow by or do a U-turn, expect to get pulled over. One of two things will happen.
One of the officers may leave the checkpoint and follow you. Or they’ll call out the make and model of your car and ask a fellow officer to stop your vehicle. Once this happens, there’s no chance of the officer giving you a break or the benefit of the doubt. In order to avoid a criminal conviction, your Indianapolis DUI defense lawyer will have to prove that the checkpoint was unlawful. Alternately, they can prove that you had an emergency of some sort and had to turn around.
There Aren’t Many Defenses to Ignoring a DUI Checkpoint
As mentioned above, there aren’t an awful lot of defenses for avoiding a DUI checkpoint. Your Indianapolis DUI defense lawyer will have to show one or more of the following:
- You had a medical emergency and had to drive to the hospital
- You were intending to turn anyway as you live down a particular street
- You were lost and were making a legitimate turn
- You had some other sort of emergency
- You did not believe the checkpoint was legitimate
The hard thing about these cases is that it may be difficult or impossible to prove that you weren’t drunk driving. For example, if the police have your license plate on camera and don’t stop you until the next day, any drugs or alcohol would have worn off. If that’s the case, they may find some other crime to charge you wish such as eluding the police.
Call an Indianapolis DUI Defense Lawyer for Help
If you’re charged with eluding or evading police because you ignored a DUI checkpoint in Indianapolis, you need legal help. You could be charged with all sorts of offenses, none of which are good. You may end up facing jail time, significant fines, and a possible suspension of your license. Rather than have this happen, you should call and talk to an experienced Indianapolis DUI defense lawyer as soon as possible after your crash.